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Color Theory

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What is Color Theory?


As an artist, product, or industrial designer, one of the crucial aspects of ensuring the best production is through thoughtful use of color. This is where color theory comes in.
Color theory is a well-established scientific process of identifying colors that complement each other. The process goes beyond what meets the eye and involves a comprehensive understanding of color relationships. Sir Isaac Newton first identified and created this process, which led to the development of the color wheel. This wheel serves as a tool for designers to craft creative color combinations that align with their company’s objectives. By utilizing the color wheel, designers can make informed decisions that will enhance the overall product aesthetic and brand image.

What is the Color Wheel?

As a creative studio that works closely with artists, designers, and innovators, we understand the importance of color theory in design. While most people are familiar with the concept of a color wheel, it’s essential to note that several variations exist.

Traditionally, the RYB color wheel, which stands for red, yellow, and blue, is the most commonly used reference. This color wheel’s popularity can be traced back to our early school days, when we learned that mixing these primary colors could produce secondary colors such as green, orange, and purple. Tertiary colors such as magenta or a darker shade of green can be obtained by mixing primary and secondary colors.

Given these fundamental principles of color mixing, it’s not surprising that most color wheels are based on the RYB color model. However, our creative studio explores various color theories and models to develop unique and innovative designs that captivate our clients and their target audiences.

7 Color Terminologies Everyone Should Know

It’s essential to have a solid understanding of the terminology to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Here are seven essential color terminologies that you should know:
  1. Hue: Refers to the color of an object, such as black or blue.
  2. Saturation: Represents the strength or weakness of the color used.
  3. Chroma: Determines the purity of the color and how much black, white, and grey is added to or missing from it.
  4. Shade: Created by adding black to a pure hue or color.
  5. Tone: Refines a color by adding grey to it.
  6. Tint: Created by mixing a hue with white.
  7. Value: Shows how light or dark a hue is and can be used to create a focal point within an image.

Understanding these essential color terminologies can help avoid confusion and ensure clear communication between designers and clients, leading to successful and visually appealing designs. At AD+L studio, we pride ourselves on our expertise in color theory and strive to educate everyone on the nuances of color terminology to achieve their desired outcomes.

In order to create visual interest, our studio helps you understand color harmonies. These color schemes go well together to create a sense of order and organization. We have the following color harmonies:

  • Monochromatic uses different tones, shades, and tints of one color.
  • Analogous uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
  • Complementary use colors that are opposite each other on the wheel.
  • Split Complementary uses the colors on either side of the complement.
  • Triadic uses three colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel, forming a triangle.
  • Tetrad uses two complementary pairs, forming a rectangle on the wheel.

Finally, we believe that color has the power to evoke emotions. Color temperature describes the warmth or coolness of a color. Warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange evoke energy and warmth because they are associated with things like the sun or fire. Cool colors such as blue, green, and purple evoke a relaxed and calming feeling because they remind people of things like water or grass.

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